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Acting Resources

Patang Takes Flight

As an artist, I feel blessed that I consistently get to work with incredibly talented people. In the past year, I feel fortunate I got the chance to spend time and become friends with one such artist: Prashant Bhargava.

I met Prashant’s Dad Vijay while training at Act One Studios a few years back. Vijay and I became fast friends. We each affectionately call each other “Professor.” As I was first introduced to Vijay, I learned about Prashant as well. In the obligatory “who-are-you-and-why-are-you-here” introductions at the start of a class, Vijay spoke about his son the filmmaker.

Vijay told us that the reason he was at Act One learning the craft was because of his son. One day, Vijay – a consultant – joked to Prashant that he should put him in one of his movies. Prashant told his father, he had to go learn how to act. Vijay agreed and, thus, began an amazing journey. One in which I was privileged to have a front row seat.

Back then, Prashant was putting the finishing touches on his film Patang. Soon, every time I saw Vijay (who was also an Executive Producer), he would tell me that his son was off to some film festival or that Vijay himself was about to go on a trip to be with his son. Over the course of a year, Patang hit most of the biggest film festivals in the world. It even made it’s way to the Chicago International Film Festival. Giving me an opportunity to see it.

I took my Mom and, along with a packed house, we enjoyed a beautiful, moving film that centered around a family and a Kite festival in India. I see upwards of 50 movies a year in the theatre. Patang was one of the best I saw in all of 2011. But don’t just take my word for it. Roger Ebert called it “a masterpiece… four stars.” It was particularly special to see the hometown kid, Prashant, beaming in front of friends and family at the CIFF. When he spoke about the film in the talkback there was an unmistakable sense of passion and confidence.

A few months later, Vijay and I had plans to grab lunch. Prashant was going to come along. I expected an afternoon of some fun conversation that I had grown accustomed to with Vijay and an opportunity to get to know his (much talked about) son. When Prashant arrived, I was surprised to see a man who was quite different than the one I saw at the film festival. Proud and confident he was not. He was down and at a low point in his journey. While the film had been a critical success, he was having challenges with distribution and the dreams he had for his work weren’t quite materializing as he had imagined. Keep in mind, this was a labor of love. Prashant had spent eight years of his life making this film.

We spoke some more and I lent a sympathetic and encouraging ear to Prashant. I did my best to remind him that his journey and current challenges were leading him to a good place.

That lunch led to Prashant and I spending a good amount of time together over the next couple weeks. He was in a difficult place emotionally and psychologically and, without getting into too much detail, I played my part to help. I’ve spent a large chunk of time coaching and mentoring people and this was an opportunity to play that role again. As is usually the case, it also resulted in a new friendship.

Prashant and I haven’t had the opportunity to spend much time together since that month, but what happened next put a huge smile on my face. I met Prashant at a low point for him. I learned about what it took to make Patang and the obstacles he faced. As he was facing some of his biggest hurdles, something great started to happen. Patang began to take off. Roger Ebert – always a huge supporter of the film – included the Patang in Ebert Fest. On the heels of that tremendous honor, Patang got distribution and began a theatrical release in the US. I was more than happy to go see it again (and also tell all my friends to go catch it as well).

As of this writing, Patang is still making its run in theaters and Prashant is back on the road promoting it. He’s definitely in better spirits these days (and even put his Dad in a short film). For me it’s wonderful to see incredible things happen to great people. I feel special that I can simply call both of the Bhargava’s friends.

You can learn more about Patang by visiting the official website or becoming a fan on Facebook. In case you missed it above, you can read Roger Ebert’s review here. Finally, if you don’t want to do any clicking, you can watch the trailer for Patang below. Of course, you will have to click play… Enjoy!

 

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